I know, I know, I’m in Cuba. Still on honeymoon. So I’ve handed the fort over to one of my favourite bloggers today, Adele from Circus Queen.
Adele’s was one of the first blogs I found when I started blogging just over a year ago. Back then she was writing about pregnancy – reading her words took me right back to the days 19 months ago when I was huge and fed up.
She writes with humour, thought and huge sprinklings of common sense. And she resides in my homeland of Bristol, so she’s got to be worth a read.
Without further ado, I bring to you, the Queen of the Circus herself….
When I was fifteen, I voluntarily (!) got up at 5am to study Chemistry and Biology. I was getting ready to write my CXC’s (the Caribbean version of GCSE’s). Looking back I would’ve managed anyway. Looking forward, I’d put my fingertips in the toaster to get those unslept hours to return.
These mornings a little hand grabs my boob at 5.30 (someone remind me I need to cut those fingernails) and shoves it violently in her mouth. A few minutes later, the other one falls victim. Just when I start nodding off again, the hand starts jabbing fingers up my nose, pulling open my lips and yanking my hair.
I’ve tried to get clever by keeping some toys next to my pillow. So I hurl them at her with my eyes closed to see if I can fool her into thinking I’m still asleep. This probably buys me two minutes. Then I’m whacked over the head by a Lamaze thing-ma-jig.
Meanwhile, my eight-month-old is babbling a mile a minute. The message is clear: “Wake UP, Mummy.”
I really believe the more sleep you get, the more you need. Somehow, two hours’ sleep shook it at two months into this motherhood gig. Now, I reach sleepily for my dressing gown and slippers and tell the giggling imp in my bed: “Lord have mercy, child – can’t you see it’s dark out there?”
At this, she smiles so fully, I almost forget that I’m a grumpy cow who doesn’t like getting up in the morning at the best of times and who thinks winter is a sure symptom of the fall of man.
We go downstairs to stick the kettle on and get our breakfast going. She sits with her toys but, mainly, she’s looking up at me and chatting away, laughing when I respond.
She’s her own person, I marvel, independent of the rhythms of my own sleep. What is she thinking about when she wakes up? What has she dreamt? What is she saying to me?
More often than not, I’ve gone to bed feeling worn out and rather sorry for myself. I’m stuck with her until bedtime day after day. I’m getting lost inside this vortex of poo, naps and peekaboo. Pretty soon I’ll not know where to find a self to hold in any kind of esteem.
I’ve recently become afraid that I’m getting boring, that motherhood is not enough and, by extension, that I am – simply – not enough. It culminates in a nightly headache as I pull my daughter into bed with me. I lie in the dark and wonder if I’m coping.
As the caffeine kicks in, the sun rises and Talitha lifts her arms to be carried, my thoughts elevate. I’ve got a day ahead with someone who sees me. Hours will roll with the person who desperately wants to be with me.
I know, I know, my identity can’t be planted in her. One day she’ll stop laughing at my jokes, preferring to be with her friends.
But for now, I only have to think about this moment. These dim hours are teaching me to be the person I am going to be – with the person who doesn’t give a fart about what I got on my CXC’s.